Notices
Results 1 to 7 of 7
Like Tree8Likes
  • 4 Post By adelady
  • 1 Post By dan hunter
  • 1 Post By Lynx_Fox
  • 2 Post By billvon

Thread: For want of a nail ... the kingdom was lost. Reversed.

  1. #1 For want of a nail ... the kingdom was lost. Reversed. 
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    city of wine and roses
    Posts
    6,225
    For Want of a Nail

    For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
    For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
    For want of a horse the rider was lost.
    For want of a rider the message was lost.
    For want of a message the battle was lost.
    For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
    And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.


    This old proverb emphasises how we can damage or entirely lose large or important things because of an overlooked small or apparently trivial thing. Exactly the same thing can happen in reverse. If you lose or destroy a big, obvious thing, you can lose everything just because of that. (The key expression here is trophic cascade. It's a pity that remembering this won't help when we play Trivial Pursuit.)

    Most people are familiar with the return of wolves to Yellowstone resulting in a resurgence of other animals, trees and other plants. What many people don't realise is that the sum of those changes has altered the geography. The stronger tree and shrub growth has stabilised river banks making the course of the river different.

    This video describes how all this comes together. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q

    However. I got this from a blog where the example of sharks is also used. I know there's a problem with removing large predatory fish from the oceans generally. But the example given here shows how you can totally destroy a specific locality (rather than have a dispersed effect over a large region).

    Sharks exhibit a top down control on an ecosystem, if you remove them you disrupt the whole balance of nature. In 2005 a Mexican/US research team was able to study a particular area around a coral reef where sharks were hunted to local extinction to make it more tourist friendly. Seemed like a good idea, until the ecology of the coral suddenly all died within a year.

    The study showed that
    - the reef sharks preyed on octopus, and so kept the population quite low,
    - when the sharks were taken away
    - the octopus thrived
    - and in turn killed off their own prey the urchin.
    - this then caused the urchins competitor the star fish to grow in population because they had no competition for space
    - and the star fish killed all the coral reef.

    Looks like a real life version of the For want of a nail ... terrible consequences from loss or lack of a specific necessary thing.

    I am pretty sure that "tourist friendly" meant lots of opportunity to dive and fish on the coral reef. Talk about cutting off your nose and spiting your face. There's another proverb about looking before you leap - it might have been a good idea to consult an ecologist or a coral reef expert before starting this whole thing.

    How Wolves Change Rivers – A Lesson in BioDiversity | Climate Denial Crock of the Week

    and the link to the shark story
    AFRICAN SHARK ECO-CHARTERS Blog: What if Sharks became Extinct?


    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    2,408
    I think you had a similar situation on Australia's Great Barrier Reef when the Conchs were almost exterminated by conch shell hunters and the Crown of Thorns starfish population exploded.

    One attempt to solve the problem here.
    Reef to Ridge: Crown of Thorns Fertilizer and Climate Change Adaptation in the South Pacific Islands | RarePlanet

    another attempt here;
    Australia scientists tackle reef-killing starfish


    LuciDreaming likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,322
    Trophic cascades are being documented in many ecosystems and probably will become one of the most important ideas in biology to understand, measure model to understand human impacts.

    Here's a brief article of more examples, including otter kills associated with kelp beds as well as salmon, whale and eagle populations.

    Trophic Cascades Across Diverse Plant Ecosystems | Learn Science at Scitable
    dan hunter likes this.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    2,006
    Once again, it turns out the best thing we can do for an ecosystem is - leave it alone.

    I am reminded of the Red Forest in Chernobyl, where the plume from the burning core of the reactor killed everything within miles. It is now one of the healthiest ecosystems in the Ukraine, with wild horses, boar and endangered birds making a comeback. Not because of the radiation - but because there are no people there.

    It's a sad statement on humanity - that we do more damage to the environment than a burning nuclear reactor can do.
    RedPanda and LuciDreaming like this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Dogbox in front of Dywyddyr's house.
    Posts
    1,784
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Once again, it turns out the best thing we can do for an ecosystem is - leave it alone.

    I am reminded of the Red Forest in Chernobyl, where the plume from the burning core of the reactor killed everything within miles. It is now one of the healthiest ecosystems in the Ukraine, with wild horses, boar and endangered birds making a comeback. Not because of the radiation - but because there are no people there.

    It's a sad statement on humanity - that we do more damage to the environment than a burning nuclear reactor can do.
    we could also change the cooling towers into large bird baths.
    "MODERATOR NOTE : We don't entertain trolls here, not even in the trash can. Banned." -Markus Hanke
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    2,006
    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    we could also change the cooling towers into large bird baths.
    Actually the sarcophagus has been leaking like a sieve. Birds seem to love it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Masters Degree LuciDreaming's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Cambridgeshire
    Posts
    660
    George Monbiot makes a case for 'rewilding' (as he calls it) - fascinating talk.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Similar Threads

  1. Why is Ireland separated from the United Kingdom?
    By mmatt9876 in forum Politics
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: July 13th, 2011, 11:27 PM
  2. REVERSED MAGNETIC CHARGED PARTICAL FUSION TECHNOLOGY
    By Fluid space in forum Personal Theories & Alternative Ideas
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: May 25th, 2010, 04:17 PM
  3. Electroplating Cu onto Fe nail
    By tropaleewa in forum Chemistry
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: November 7th, 2009, 09:58 AM
  4. United Kingdom plates
    By emetzner in forum Earth Sciences
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: June 1st, 2009, 05:52 PM
  5. The kingdom of heaven and the mustard seed......
    By leohopkins in forum Scientific Study of Religion
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: April 7th, 2009, 10:08 PM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •